Rally spectacular to hit the roads of Wyre and Ribble Valley after event launch

John Stones Ford Fiesta WRC fronts a line-up of cars at the Legend Fires North West Stages rally launch'Pictures: www.pro-rally.co.uk
John Stones Ford Fiesta WRC fronts a line-up of cars at the Legend Fires North West Stages rally launch'Pictures: www.pro-rally.co.uk
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The 2020 Legend Fires North West Stages rally, in partnership with Simpsons Skoda, has been launched and the event itself will take place on March 20 and 21.

The launch took place at Myerscough College, near Garstang, which is the rally headquarters for the rally.

A route comprising 14 special stages and 60 miles, all on closed public roads, will make use of country lanes in the Wyre and Ribble Valley areas.

As in 2019, Myerscough College’s Motorsport Centre will host the pre-event scrutineering and central service area, a perfect location with stages taking place to the east and west of the venue.

Event director Dave Read said: “As with last year’s event, we have worked closely with the local authorities, town and parish councils and land owners and we are grateful for their co-operation and support.

“This year’s event is the opening round of the 2020 Protyre MUK Asphalt Rally Championship and we’ve devised a challenging route that includes a mixture of fast-flowing fell roads and tight and twisty country lanes.”

Precise route details won’t be released until closer to the rally but the ceremonial start on the Friday evening will again take place on Garstang’s High Street.

And this year all crews who complete the course will return to the High Street late on Saturday afternoon for the traditional champagne-spraying finish.

Guests to the launch were given the opportunity to sit with north-west drivers as they tackled a short special stage on the college grounds.

Among them was Blackpool South Shore Motor Club member John Stone, managing director of the rally’s Blackburn-based sponsors Legend Fires, who brought his Ford Fiesta WRC.

Stone will compete in the event for the 20th time this year, having won in 2004, and he said: “It has come a long way since the days it ran around sewage works and old airfields, such as Clifton and Weeton. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Other South Shore Motor Club members in attendance included Mark Holmes, Simon Bowen and James Ford.

All three are expected to enter the rally in a variety of Ford Fiestas.

Fleetwood Auto Engineer Holmes will compete at the event in an eighth different car, having piloted a Mazda 323, a trio of Ford Escorts, a Subaru Impreza and a pair of MG Metro 6R4s. It was in one of the Metros that he gained his best result, finishing third overall in 2009.

Details of spectator locations will be published by The Gazette in the week leading up to the event.